Lufthansa will be first to land at new Hyderabad airport

March 12th, 2008 - 8:45 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, March 12 (IANS) The new international airport at Shamshabad near Hyderabad is all set to receive its first flight - of Lufthansa and from Frankfurt - in the early hours of Sunday. The Lufthansa flight will be the first commercial flight to land at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at 0025 hrs Sunday, marking the commencement of commercial operations at India’s first greenfield airport built in public-private partnership.

With the Civil Aviation Ministry notification Tuesday to commence operations at the new airport from 0001 hours Sunday, the developers are gearing up for the D-day.

The Rs.25 billion world-class airport will be inaugurated by Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday.

The ministry has also issued the notification for closure of the existing airport at Begumpet in the heart of the city.

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) officials said 13 aircraft will take off from the Begumpet airport and land at the new airport late Saturday.

“These aircraft will be parked at the new airport on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday and will take off next morning to their respective destinations,” Vishwanath, vice-resident of corporate planning, GMR, told IANS.

SpiceJet will be the first domestic airline to operate its flight at the new airport.

Airport officials are busy giving final touches to shift the entire operations from Begumpet to Shamshabad, a distance of 35 km.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will soon issue the mandatory ‘note to airmen’ informing the pilots about the shifting of operations. All flights to and from Hyderabad will be handled by Air Traffic Controller (ATC) personnel at the new airport from 0001 hrs Sunday.

GHIAL has already installed the equipment at the ATC Shamshabad and the same has undergone the mandatory tests. As part of these, two ‘proving flights’ of two domestic airlines carrying journalists and the officials from Mumbai landed at the new airport Feb 12.

The existing airport is currently handling about 250 aircraft movements every day and GHIAL hopes that the number would go up to 300 to 350 flights by March, 2009.

Presently, 13 international and 10 domestic serve more than 35 destinations.

GHIAL hopes the numbers would only go up with the opening of the new facility.

British Airways is scheduled to launch flights from Heathrow to Hyderabad from Oct 27. Gulf Air, the national carrier of Kingdom of Bahrain, plans daily flights to Hyderabad from June.

The new airport has come up on 5,000 acres of land, incorporates the best of facilities at the Oslo, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore airports. Its 4,260-metre runway is the longest in South East Asia.

The airport would be capable of handling 12 million passengers per annum (mppa) and more than 100,000 tonnes of cargo per annum. The ultimate capacity of the new airport is over 40 mppa and one million tonnes of cargo per annum.

GHIAL hopes the passenger traffic growth would increase by 20 to 25 percent in the first year. The number of passengers is expected to go up from existing 7 million to 8.4 million per annum. They include 2.4 million international passengers.

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